This is a work in progress just to start things off for me and so you can see what's my mapping philosophy. It was done in Photoshop with my wacom tablet and supposedly is a fantasy setting in the broadest sense of the term (the one that includes science fiction). Enough for that part of worldbuilding though...
I like sketching in a comfortable resolution and to get things straight right away so my world maps are always 360:180 (2:1) in proportions and start small. I can always enlarge the canvas and blow up the map sketch to work some detail in later. Besides working out the climates with more confidence using the maximum "angular area" a map can have allows me to wrap it onto a sphere and check for topological mishaps around the poles and which is where Celestia comes in handily.
The legend for the map is as follows:
Black - continental blocks
Blue - subduction trenches
Magenta - collision zones
Red - rifts
Green - transform faults
I'll probably try in the near future to fashion an animation pertaining to a few Wilson Cycles. It will take a good amount of self control not to start niggling about the topology. If I do I'll never get it finished :?
Anyway the plan is to get the "plate model" to a state satisfactory enough that I can worry about selecting a timeslice and detailing it further.
I like the fact that you are starting from the "bottom up" I think that it is a good idea to start off by defining your tectonic setting, and then start to work on the continents. I know this is only the beginning, but I think that if you keep working out from there, the world will be an accurate depiction of what a world should be. Then, as you start adding more details, things will just fall into place.
I retitled the post because I see little hope in me actually finishing anything :(
Belated thanks, landorl :) Actually I think one should first define tectonic blocks and then work out the relations between them as that ensures a more correct fit. It helps to note, as they did on a novel titled "Palace", that Earth's continents tend to be very roughly triangular in shape.
Anyway, after this lull of a few months, my first is a vectorization of this old map.
I'm actually thinking of picking up this project again as somehow, at least to me the Alien Saga xenomorph could do more than just be a horror fixture. Maybe it's a delayed reaction (the known is more "safe" than the unknown) but the offhand worldbuilding characterizing this series of movies is something I wish not to leave well enough alone.
However, I should simply drop it as the tropey stuff it has already become and go on to other more productive things... Tough it's true that along with dinosaurs it was what got me into speculative biology.
The map itself will probably see some changes as I figure what the heck I'm going to do with it.
The next here is a little plate tectonics animation I made during the weekend. It's surprising how far sketching in successive layers gets you. Just as a note I'll say I started with the last frame and backtracked about 24 of them.
I'll probably go over it, fix the topology and add a few more continental blocks.
The last one is just a curiosity though it may be useful. I was impressed by this guy's work on the effects of true polar wander, as it were, on Earth. So I though on how I could replicate his stuff digitally as I'm sure not everyone here is adept in papier-mâché. After a bit of fumbling around I hit upon it.
Project an azimuthal equidistant map in G.Projector selecting a center point of your choice, your 0º lat/long, set the radius to 180º. Save it, convert it to *.bmp in Photoshop, crop it to within 5 px of the projection proper in Paintshop Pro and save in as a *.jpg. Open Joe Slayton's Reproject and select azimuthal equidistant, adjust the graticule dead on center and save. Voilà...
Ok, I know it's circuitous: anyone is welcome to come up with something better.